Ronald Colman charms as a promising young doctor who tries small-town medicine but finds himself drawn to research. After landing at a prestigious New York institute, he discovers a cure for bubonic plague. A West Indies outbreak provides an opportunity to test his work but also tests his resolve to maintain a detached, scientific approach.
The West Indies segment proves a highlight. As plague ravages the island, Colman’s wife finds herself surrounded by death. The shadow-filled photography conjures a claustrophobic, horrific atmosphere.
But I struggled with the script’s plodding reliance on exposition and head-scratcher ending. What is the film trying to say besides “smoking kills?”